Why has my mum deteriorated?

Hi there, everyone I hope you are all ok
I am new to the forum and have so far found reading the posts really helpful and hope to meet some nice people here. I wonder if anyone can help?

I went down to see my 82 year old mum for Christmas and was shocked to see how much she has over recent weeks and I can’t really work out why her mobility has got so much worse and now she is in a wheelchair. She has a dropped foot and also some arthritis on the spine but now she can barely walk, zero balance and very frail.
She keeps getting fobbed off by her GP who just prescribes more and more drugs and won’t see her face to face, hwoever insistent we are. The drugs are now affecting her bowels and she is also partically incontinent.
I keep bursting into tears because I don’t honestly know what to do or how to help her. She is normally a very upbeat person and her mental health has now plumetted.
She lives with my dad but now he is his 80s he is strugglign with her decreasing mobility and struggles to push the wheelchair - i am now wondering whether I have to move down there to help.
Any advice appreciated

Hi Lorraine,

The GP sounds useless. Are there other doctors at the surgery who might be more helpful.

Do you have POA for your parents health and welfare? If not it’s worth sorting out. In the meantime you could get your Mum to write her authorisation for the GP to talk with you, then you can liaise with them directly.

Does your Mum see anyone re her foot and spine?

She may benefit from physio and in many areas you can self refer.

My Mum’s mobility has worse during the pandemic too; though began improving over the summer. She lost confidence whilst shielding and then fell at home.

How far away from you are they?


Try the community O/T you can usually do a self referral. Ideally, through the G.P. and or practice nurse. I find it’s now at the moment quicker to see a prescribing nurse. I’ve done this on the last three occasions and been successful. End result husband had his needs met. You can also complain to the practice manager. They don’t like complaints as these have to be investigated. Do not worry if you think the G.P. will be upset etc. Your Mum is your priority and keep knocking on doors.

Do you think both Mum and Dad could do with a needs assessment.
This would identify areas that require immediate attention. You can call your parents local authority ask for the Adult Care team.

Thank you both - your kindness has made me very tearful - it doesn’t take much at the moment!! I really do appreciate your help and taking the time to reply

Yes the GP is useless unfortunately and even my mum has started to say - ‘they just dont care’ - its hard to describe the level of negativity that has seeped in to someone who never before would have said something like that.

Thank you all for your suggestions - she did see a physio earlier in 2021 and made some good progress and they said she could self refer again if needed but of course now the waiting list is very long. I feel like she needs a more holistic assessment too as its the medication that is not right and all the pills that keep getting thrown at her are making things so much worse.

I really do fear a fall as at the moment it feels inevitable, and I think the effects will be devastating. I try not to think of the worst, but I won’t lie, its hard not to at times. Getting a community OT referral is a great idea and had no idea that I needed authorisation to speak to her GP on her behalf. That was going to be my next step - sending a stinking letter to the practice and CCG. I live a couple of hours away and just worrying all the time at the moment - I need a plan for myself too to ensure I don’t get down as that is not going to help things xx

Do your parents have an emergency pendent. If not the Local Authority should have a scheme. If there isn’t anyone close by as the call to attend usually goes to a friend or relative for access. A key safe can be fitted and the number held at central control. Some times local Authorities provide mobile wardens. It would help if Mum was needed to been on her own. While Dad does other things etc.

Your parents are going to become increasingly frail, they both need help now.
Do NOT move in with them. A friend of mine cared for his mum until she died at 105! He was then too old to realise any of his retirement dreams.
Talk to then about their future care, either in their own home or residential care, or sheltered housing?

Do you have Power of Attorney?
Do they have over £46,000 in savings?
Do they own or rent their home?

Yes you are right - its a nightmare talking to my parents about going older, they don’t want to admit it and say they don’t want to talk about it - ‘I wont go into a home etc’ Wearing a pendant is what old people do etc. My dad even said he wanted to go for a dip in the sea on news years day as its on his bucket list - honestly its emotionally exhausting!!!

Thanks all for your tips

When the next “I’m not going into a home” comment comes, and it wilil, then you need to have an appropriate response ready.

Tell them straight that is where they will end up, unless they start accepting help and making life simpler for themselves.
If they have an easy to care for home, with someone coming in to help them with it, cleaning, food prep, washing etc. then they will be able to stay in their home “as long as possible”
BUT if the refuse help, they WILL end up in a home.

“It’s up to you now” is what you have to say to them, Because it is.
It is NOT your responsibility to prop them up, you have your own life and responsibilities.
If they are both entitled to Attendance Allowance (and you can help them with the form or get someone else to) that will give them enough money for quite a lot of help.

Thank you , this is excellent advice and I really appreciate your straightforward and no nonsense approach it brings a lot of clarity. It makes a lot of sense and i agree

I just wish someone had said this to me long ago, when my husband and I were fit and well. Too late for me now.